PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland police officer was wounded and his K-9 partner was killed in a shootout with an armed man in Southwest Portland early Wednesday morning, police said.
Police Chief Mike Reese said the incident started when three suspects broke into Blumenthal uniform supply store, which sells uniforms to police, firefighters and other public service members.
"It's a concern that they would burglarize this business," Reese said when asked if he was concerned the suspects might have been planning to steal uniforms to impersonate police officers.
The officer who was shot was identified as Jeff Dorn, a 16-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau. His dog, Mick, was killed by a 20-year-old suspect, police said.
Police stopped the burglary in progress but the suspects drove away in a vehicle. They crashed the vehicle at SW Capitol Highway and Dolph Court. That's where the shootout happened just before 3 a.m.
Reese said one man armed with a rifle ran from the vehicle. Dorn - a K-9 officer - let his dog loose to take the suspect down. The suspect shot Dorn and Mick before running away into the neighborhood, Reese said.
Officers detained the two other suspects at the scene.
Dorn was shot in both legs, but his injuries are not life-threatening. Portland Police Bureau spokesman Pete Simpson said he is at a hospital with his family.
"He is in very good spirits, considering the circumstances," Simpson said.
Police reported the suspect was in custody and receiving medical attention just before 6 a.m. after a lengthy neighborhood search. It’s unclear if the suspect was shot. Medics took him to OHSU.
The police Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) searched for the man with help from a police helicopter. Police said the suspect was armed with an assault rifle and the weapon has been recovered.
Simpson said SERT officers found the suspect in the 6900 block of SW Olsen Road. The suspect surrendered to the officers at gunpoint, Simpson said.
Police asked residents in the neighborhood to stay in their homes and call 911 if they saw any suspicious activity. Police activated a reverse 911 system to tell neighbors to stay indoors.
Simpson said 911 calls from neighbors were critical to police finding the suspect.
The suspect's name has not been released.
K-9 partner found dead
Police said Mick was found dead beneath a hedge near the shooting scene just before 9:30 a.m. after a massive search of the neighborhood.
Daylight helped officers discover the dog's body.
Mick just joined the K-9 squad recently. The dog was wearing a police harness when he was shot.
The dog suffered at least one fatal gunshot wound, police said.
"In this situation, the dog was doing its job. It was protecting our community. It's tragic that we lost the dog," Reese said.
Police did not initially release the name of the dog because they said doing so could identify the officer who was shot.
Police held a procession for the K-9 from the shooting scene to a veterinarian's office in Southeast Portland.
Simpson said Dorn was very concerned about Mick.
"K-9 officers, their dogs are a part of their family," he said.
By late afternoon, people brought flowers by the scene as a show of respect for the fallen police dog.
Neighbor Doug Duguay describes waking up to the sound of his own dog barking and gunshots before 3 a.m.
"All of a sudden, bap bap bap bap...shots were fired out," Duguay said. "Shortly thereafter I heard the officer yelling 'I've been hit.' "
Sarah Lyons said it's a very dog-friendly neighborhood.
"I really feel for the police officer who was in charge of the dog. I know that must be incredibly hard. Our hearts really go out to him," Lyons said.